SOME INTERESTING LETTERS
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
We desire to express our appreciation and love to you and the dear friends at the Bible House, for your devotion to the work so dear to us all. Your sacrificing spirit and zeal and devotion to the flock over which the Lord has placed you, and your capacity for hard work, have been an inspiration to us. Beyond any doubt the present Lord has been and is your helper; otherwise your poor body would surely sink beneath the heavy cross you have to bear. We thank you and express our admiration for your courage and boldness in not compromising in any matter the Truth, but have always given to the household of faith "things both new and old."
In regard to "the Vow," we have been very much helped and blessed since we advised you that we have subscribed to it; and we have also been very much helped since we have seen the Truth in its fuller light, as explained by you in the TOWERS, and by some of the Pilgrims, in regard to the Covenants and our relation thereto. As stated by one brother, Psa. 50:5and other Scriptures intimate that when Jesus sacrificed himself he made a covenant with Jehovah, "a covenant by sacrifice." Jehovah, on the other hand, had made his part of the Covenant with Abraham and not with Jesus, but Jesus, by giving his flesh for the life of the world, came under the conditions of the Covenant made with Abraham 2,000 years before. All persons since justified by faith in Jesus' work of sacrifice, and having presented their justified bodies a living sacrifice, these, together, Jesus the Head and the Church his Body, constitute that Seed class which shall do the work through whom all the families of the earth will be blessed. This Abrahamic Covenant, therefore, needs no Mediator, because it includes only those who are actually or reckonedly perfect. Our dear Lord did not need a Mediator on account of being absolutely perfect, and since we have been accepted in the Beloved, we do not require a Mediator, because we become members of his Body as New Creatures--the Seed of Abraham. (Gal. 3:27,29.) God deals with the Body during their trial day through Jesus the Head, the Advocate. (I John 2:1.) But the poor world during their trial day will require a Mediator, otherwise Justice would require their execution. This office of Mediator is surely one of the hopes set before us in the Gospel.
We feel very humble and thankful to our Master that we are permitted to see these grand truths, while some others, blessed with larger opportunities, having for so many years been associated so closely with yourself and received the light and Truth through your ministry, are now asking you to accept their resignations on account of not being able to see eye to eye with you on the Covenants and Vow. I have been given a copy of the letter Brother Hennings sent you under date of November 22, 1908. The knowledge of these facts, dear Brother, has inspired this letter in the hope that it may help to comfort you in the assurance of your being in the heavenly Father's favor, and we can only say, as you have so often said to us through the TOWERS, "Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid"; "No weapon formed against thee shall prosper, and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment, thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord."
We pray for you and the Bible House family every day many times. And we ask you to remember us in your prayers. With much love,
Yours in the One Hope, J. P. HEMPHILL.
MY DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
On January first we began the New Testament reading, a chapter every evening. It is now looked forward to with much eagerness. The doing of this regularly is proving a great blessing. Also the reading of twelve pages of DAWN daily in the morning.
After you suggested the twelve pages daily to me at Halifax, I went back to Montreal and tried so hard to keep it up, but it seemed almost impossible, and I occasionally had as many as thirty-six pages for one day. Since making the resolution to the Lord to do this it has been possible every day thus far. This further proves to me the help of resolutions or vows made to the Lord. I feel that it is as it was with Jesus when he took a positive stand and said, "Get thee hence, Satan.... Then the devil leaveth him, and behold, angels came and ministered unto him."--Matt. 4:10,11.
Is it not the same with us when we take a positive stand on any question--that we then have the special help from the Lord along those lines? I have felt it so in my own case.
Endeavoring not to murmur nor complain about any condition or experience has been very helpful. It many times keeps me from mentioning little things which I otherwise might.
I want to thank you also for the joint-letter in regard to our vows. It is a great encouragement and help in remembering daily why these vows are made--"to promote our spiritual interests and to assist in the mortifying of the mortal bodies."
I thank our Father daily and oftener for the continued help received through his dear Servant.
Your sister through his merit, ETHEL WHITE.
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BELOVED PASTOR AND BROTHER:--
My dear husband is so earnest, so eager to do the Lord's will whatever the cost may be. Since the taking of "Our Precious Vow," as he calls it, the change has been something wonderful--a change that must be felt; it cannot be described. What that Vow has been and is to me I can never tell. I incorporated each section so as to make a prayer of the whole, and twice every day, if no oftener, I offer that up with my other petitions, and the dear Father is hearing me. How could it be otherwise? He has promised, and "He is faithful that promised." My Consecration Vow seems so infinitely more comprehensive since taking this later one emphasizing the first, and this bringing it before the Father in words makes everything so much clearer and more real. I can approach the heavenly Father in a manner I never understood before, and realize that he hears and will answer. I thank the Lord for the Vow, and you, dear brother, as his servant, in bringing it to his people --"in due time."
We sometimes talk of how easy and blessed it would be to die; but to live in these evil days how hard it is! The closer we come to our heavenly Father, the greater the anxiety to be with him. "How can we keep the longing back and how suppress the groan?"
Yet we realize that each passing hour shall, if we are faithful, prepare us more for the Kingdom, and we are content. But how blessed it will be to have passed through the trials, the testings, and to have been found "faithful!" Oh it is so hard to live, so hard really to live and develop as the Lord would have us grow as New Creatures. Will we all who are so far faithful, be able to say at the end, "I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do"? Pray for us, dear brother, for my husband and self, even as we pray for you, that we may be always able to say from the heart, "I do always those things which please him."
With much Christian love, your sister in our blessed Lord, I. P. W.
AN OPEN LETTER TO THE HOUSEHOLD OF FAITH
Love, truth and honesty, and sorrow for sin, constrain me to confess my shameful course during my opposition to the Vow, and which I now see to be but a reiteration of my consecration Vow, more clearly outlined in some essential details because of the present evil day.
That expert, Satan, whispered some apparently very plausible suggestions against the Vow, and which, yielded to, soon led me to look at it from a very prejudiced and improper standpoint. Thus I quickly took the bait that the suggestion of the Vow was purely of and by man to ensnare the simple minded, and was not in harmony with the spirit of true Bible teaching. This view soon roused my zeal to not touch, taste nor handle anything that did not have a direct, pointed "Thus saith the Lord" attached to it. Very soon I seemed to lose all the spirit of a sound mind and of love, and began to back-bite Brother Russell, not only orally, but also by writing back-biting letters. In fact, I became a first-rate back-biter. I compared Brother Russell to Moses, when he said to Israel, "Must I bring water for you?" and to David in his prohibited work of numbering the Israelites. I likened the presentation of the Vow to the claimed inspiration of the Mormon Prophet Smith, and the Vow itself to the harmonious sound of a plague of frogs.
Now, Brother Russell, it needs no argument to show such thoughts to be the product of a very unsound mind; [R4340 : page 61] yes, I must say, the product of a Satanic mind or a mind dominated by demons.
I am sorry for such conduct and want you to publish my expression of my sorrow for my sin. I can assure you it found me out. Make a heartfelt prayer for me that I may be kept from the sin of presumption.
I take the Vow today (January 25th), my 66th birthday, and remain,
Your penitent brother, ELIAS M. GIBBS.